How to Volunteer for Hurricane Irma Disaster Relief

As Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other federal agencies, along with non-profit, faith- and community-based organizations, and volunteers will be working together to provide services and assistance to help those affected by the destructive storm.

“Right now where we need citizens, neighbors helping neighbors, is in the life safety mission,” said Brock Long, FEMA Administrator. “The objectives are clear: restore power, ensure lifesaving and life sustaining supplies, provide emergency medication, and maintain security. This response and recovery will take the whole community…”

FEMA expects thousands of volunteers to be needed to support mass care activities for evacuation shelters in Florida, and potentially other southeastern states in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Individuals seeking to volunteer in Hurricane Irma’s aftermath should not self-deploy, but rather, coordinate with local and state organizations to ensure appropriate volunteer safety, training, and housing. Volunteers acting alone and attempting to enter impacted zones may find themselves turned away by local authorities.

In Florida, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FEDM) is coordinating with volunteer organizations across the state and partnering with the American Red Cross (ARC) to provide shelter operations training to volunteers and AmeriCorps grantees.

Those interested in volunteering to assist in Florida are encouraged to learn about opportunities at www.volunteerflorida.org, the website of Volunteer Florida, the state’s lead agency for volunteerism and national service that administers federal, state, and local funding for service programs.   Individuals looking to volunteer at shelters, should complete shelter operations training online and submit a registration form. Since the damages are unknown as of now, potential volunteers are asked to seek opportunities with charitable organizations that are currently stocking supplies.  The website is frequently updated, so please check back for new information.

If you are a nurse and available to volunteer, please email BPRCHDPreparedness@flhealth.gov to volunteer.

Individuals who register online and have completed the training, should note that if not contacted, please do not unexpectedly travel to disaster areas to volunteer, as it will create a burden on organizations and first responders. Volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear, and valid identification.

VOLUNTEERING IN THE SOUTHEAST IN RESPONSE TO HURRICANE IRMA

As the storm is anticipated to affect other areas in the Southeast, the need for volunteers is expected to extend beyond Florida.  Anyone looking to get involved after Hurricane Irma has passed, is encouraged to volunteer with local and nationally known organizations. A list of volunteer websites are available at www.nvoad.org.

Volunteer generosity helps impacted communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters, but recovery will last much longer. There will be several volunteer needs in the coming months and years, so please continue to sign up after the disaster.

Hurricane Irma is still considered extremely dangerous, with the potential to impact additional areas than Florida. As the situation changes, needs may also change in these areas, so please continue to monitor traditional and social media channels to learn more.

Sharing is Caring: 4 Ways How Helping Others Can Improve Your Own Life

To this day many people prefer taking, rather than giving. They are always asking life for more, wondering what more they can achieve, get and experience.

But turns out that giving is not just more important than taking, not just what we – as humans – should naturally be inclined to, but also the thing that gives us true satisfaction and can improve own life.

Without having tried it, however, there’s no chance you can know what the real benefits are.

There are many ways in which helping others, sharing, caring, giving what you can, doing good deeds, etc. can make you a better person and help other people too, while making the world more peaceful.

In case you want to live better and also contribute beyond yourself, here’s how helping others can turn your whole life around:

1. A sense of purpose

Let’s admit it. We’re all looking for meaning in life.

Often, focused only on ourselves and living the daily life, we forget there’s more behind all this.

There’s purpose beyond materialistic possessions, reaching our goals in life, getting a new job, finding the right partner, or else.

When you start doing more for others, and less for yourself, you receive more than you can imagine.

You find meaning in your life if you decide to volunteer, or to just be a better person and always help when you can.

So if you still haven’t found true meaning in your life, ask yourself what you can do today to help someone in need, or to show somebody that you care.

2. Volunteer, and you’ll be happy and healthy

According to a report by Harvard Health Publications, volunteering and the level of happiness and health in people’s lives are closely related. Let’s break this down.

For a start, when you join a volunteering organization, you’re part of a community, you feel like you belong. You’re taking part in something bigger than you, and it makes you smile and be truly grateful.

You start feeling good about yourself, and often can’t even describe it to others in your life. There’s nothing selfish about it, and you don’t even need to talk about it. It’s this feeling of contentment, where you don’t need to change anything, or to ask life for more, you just help others and feel happier day after day. What’s more, it’s great for the mind, body and soul too.

It’s one of the most natural stress, depression, loneliness and anxiety relievers. No need for medicine, spiritual practices, special programs, or else. You just need to go out there and start helping people.

It’s a therapy for the soul to see those in need smiling because of what you’re doing. And that makes you sleep better at night, feel good about yourself, and your other problems you thought you had in life don’t seem like a big deal now.

3. Doing good can help your professional life

You won’t be helping others with the goal of exceeding in your career, of course, but it will increase your chances of landing a job a lot, as a government study suggests.

How does this happen?

Well, turns out the skills you build while volunteering make you a better candidate for employers. It lets you explore new fields too, and you acquire knowledge at the same time. Then, you can easily put these into practice in whatever career you pursue.

What’s more, if you’re determined to excel at this, there are plenty of volunteering programs that offer further training. Things like that look good on your CV too, show that you care about the community, are open to side projects, and know how to work with other people.

Once you give it a try, you’ll end up becoming a better communicator, understand the real meaning of teamwork, will somehow start brainstorming ideas and solve problems more creatively, will be managing your time better and thus become more organized.

When all these are first experienced at an unpaid position, where no one expects you to do your best and there’s no pressure from superiors, you learn the skills necessary to move to the top of your career in the future, even before you’ve started a job in the field.

4. You build relationships

You know networking is crucial for your success in life and in business. Well, helping others can help you with that too. First of all, you’re connecting with people in a more meaningful way than usual when you’re doing good for the sake of making their life better. That’s the social aspect and it also gives you fulfillment and makes you feel great.

But you also meet other people doing the same, potential employers, influencers, and more. This expands your network and you can never know what opportunity will come out of this.

At the same time, you’re feeling more confident and comfortable around new people and let go of social anxiety. That lets you make friends too, which will stay in your life even when you’re not doing this anymore.

Once you land a new job, or open a new chapter in your life, socializing and putting yourself out there won’t scare you. You’ll be free to approach new people, and will effortlessly communicate without fear of rejection or wondering what to say.

In a nutshell, helping others is one of the most profitable, practical and satisfying things you can do with your life. And it doesn’t need to be big. You can complete smalls tasks or join a community that cares for a cause you’re passionate about.

Ways of Getting Children Involved in Giving Back to The Society

Involving children from within the community, especially those from limited-resource families, has been a primary goal of the Restoration Community Gardens sustainable agriculture project. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Getting the children involved in activities that allow them to pay back to the community. Giving back is not just for the community, it is also good for the personality building. The activities that allow the children to give back to the community and in return develop a sense of responsibility, creative thinking, and compassion and leadership qualities. It is a great way of developing healthy and compassionate minds.

Here are some useful tips for teaching the kids the importance and value of giving back to the community.

Understanding the concept:

When you are involving the children in charity activities you should make sure that you are able to get the idea of helping. They should understand that giving back does not mean that you give away things that you do not need anymore. They should also understand that helping is not just limited to donating money. Young kids mostly do what they are told to do by their parents but if you really want to instill the idea of helping the community then you need to make sure that they understand the importance. You can explain the ways in which the giving back is helping other people and the effect it has on numerous lives. Once they know the effect of their actions their interest will increase.

Do not wait for children to grow up:

Empathy and compassion are concepts that the kids are able to understand and learn from a very young age. You can encourage them to nurture these feelings just by sharing their things with other kids. No age is too young for learning to share. It will encourage them to participate in charity work and volunteer. They will not consider it as something they need to do but as something that they should do. Introducing them to charity work such as painting posters or baking sales will help in increasing their interest.

Making it a part of the routine:

You should not wait to give back. With your actions, you need to show the kids that you do not need to wait for large sums of extra money so you can pay back because it is not the only way of helping. You can inspire your kids by making the charity a part of everyday activities. You can do little acts of kindness like buying an extra bag of food while grocery shopping and giving to someone who needs it. It will set the example for the children that you can help other people with small acts of kindness on daily basis.

You should teach the kids that you do not need to be a part of a large organization in order to give back to the community. The important thing is to have the desire to help others and it will help in paving a path to giving back to the community. Random acts of kindness even like helping someone cross the street is an excellent way of instilling goodwill in people.

Consider the aptitude of the children:

If you want to make sure that the children are interested in doing the charity work then you need to make sure that you take into consideration their interests. Everyone has an aptitude for certain activities so try to introduce young children to activities that they have an interest in. If the kids are interested in creative work then you should let them paint the posters. If they are interested in food then you can get them involved in bake sales. You can show them that they can help people and nurture their own interests as well.

Get the family involved:

You should try to indulge in charity activities that you can do as a family. It will not just allow you to give back to the community but will also be good for bringing the family closer. It will help in building a stronger bond between the parents and children. You can also discuss the results of a charity event and share what you have achieved as a result. It will give a sense of accomplishment to the kids and they will be encouraged to contribute more.

How Being an Innovator Will Get You a Job

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There is no getting around it, you need to stand out in some way to get a job these days. More importantly, you need to network. Both of those things require you do something different from your peers in order to stand out. Most people will read this and say, “I don’t have time (insert excuse) to be creative in order to get a job.”

Well sit down and listen to a story my friend, a tale of wonder and excitement. After all, the internet is a space of excitement and wonder. Right?

Be Different

What does that mean? It means do things that your peers don’t and do them well. This could mean showing how unrelated skills could transfer into the workplace. Most people have hobbies, and surprisingly enough almost all those hobbies are useful.

First, make a list of the things you can do, and I mean everything, right down to annoying popping noise with your mouth that drives your friends and family nuts.

Second, cross everything off the list you believe is common in your peers’ skill sets.

Now, you have isolated the skills you have to choose from to help make yourself stand out.

Pick a Skill

Now that you have your list of skills, pick one. Does it needs to be applicable to your field? Here is an example:

I know how to use a video camera, I can edit and interview. I used these skills to volunteer for an organization that later hired me for that skill as well as the skills all my peers have. You get the idea?

Your skill needs to be useful to your prospective employer, you need to be skilled enough in it. However, you may want to keep any quirky and weirdness at a healthy dosage.

Let’s say you wanted to be an administrator of a program at a nonprofit that serves the homeless. Your skills are:

  • Cake decorating
  • Computer Programming
  • Yoga

Write down how these skills set translate into how you would use them on the job. It might look something like this.

Cake decorating

  • Aesthetically pleasing food
  • Creative in Art design and graphics
  • Help with visually appealing presentations and event planning
  • Can teach career skills to volunteers and clients

You get the idea right? Now you should do the other two.

Cultivate that skill

This is the hard part! You need to make this skill seem useful to the organization you want to work for. This might involve volunteering for them, attending events they maybe at, running your own events, or just creating a website that showcases the skill.

Then you need to tie it in! Take my own example, I used my skills and volunteered. Soon, people at the job were asking why I didn’t apply for a position there, and I eventually was hired.

By cultivating skills and volunteering, you can show work ethic, create connections, and most of all provide something useful to the organization.

It may not work 100% of the time, but it did work for me and many others I know. Also, using this approach may help you improve yourself while looking for a job. This one goes out to all the new graduates still looking for jobs and those just starting school. Now go out there and do something interesting. You think I am kidding right? I am sure this is your face right now.

If you are stuck, you can post your skills in the comments below, and myself along with the community can help you figure out how to use your skills.

Volunteering Abroad 101: Are You Ready?

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Are you considering or already made the decision to volunteer abroad? The real question is are you ready to get started? Volunteering overseas is incredibly exciting but also daunting and you will have to overcome many challenges. In reward, you will be able to help a community while getting to know a culture much more in-depth than you could do otherwise. But to get there, a lot of preparation is necessary; physically as well as mentally. If you have a spontaneous and adventurous personality, you probably want to ask yourself first:

Why do I have to prepare myself?

Most importantly, it will help you get the most out of your volunteer experience! But it will also help you to avoid some of the common pitfalls of first time volunteers. There are many things to do before you can board your flight to an unknown destination, and it’s easy to lose track of tiny details that might make or break your trip. The best way to go about it, is to consider the preparation as part of your experience. So get started well in advance, and prepare as much as you can. Even if you will most likely not be able to prepare for every possible scenario, but be sure you have covered at least the following steps.

Select the right program

Be well aware of what your aim is when volunteering abroad.

  • Do you want to focus purely on helping a project, or do you also want to use additional service offers such as safaris or day trips?
  • Do you prefer working for a grassroots project or with a large experienced organisation?
  • Is it important to you to find an ethical correct project?

There are thousands of volunteer projects available aNAMIBIA photography by Sean Sprague 2006 for MARYKNOLLnd each will give you a completely different experience; with some of them being more helpful to the societies they claim to help than others. In any case, always connect with past volunteers. This will give you the best possible insight into what to expect.

Besides your aim, you will also need to decide where to volunteer and what to do there. Concerning the task, I can only advise you to be brutally honest with yourself, and only apply to projects that fit your skill set. As much as it sounds appealing to you to help children in an orphanage, if you have zero prior experience with children that are possibly traumatised and live under difficult conditions, you will most likely do more harm than good.

Concerning the country, go with your instinct. What kind of culture are you interested in? Where can you imagine living for a while. Nevertheless consider

  • Climate – Can you bear hot, humid places?
  • Culture – Will you be ok confirming with the cultural norms?
  • Diet – Do you have special diary requirements? A person with a food allergies or a strict vegan diet might face problems in countries of which you don’t speak the local language.

Do your homework

Before you go, you should become familiar with the work you’ll be doing. If you know beforehand, you can efficiently prepare and maybe bring valuable materials to your project. Team Social Work Co-Founder Felix Radel worked as a tennis coach in Namibia – he asked for and obtained second-hand tennis racquets before his trip, which the airline allowed him to transport to Namibia without paying for extra luggage.

Furthermore, you should spend some time studying the local culture and customs of your destination culture. If you work in a rural area, you probably won’t need dress shirts, even if you are a teacher, and independent on where you go you should bring clothes to cover up with. If you are a female, make sure to double-check which clothes are appropriate, and probably leave tank tops and short skirts at home.

You might be representing a volunteer organisation, and the last thing you want to do is offend the local population. Things that are considered normal at home might be very offensive at your destination, such as pointing at another person with your finger or wearing shoes indoors. If you have specific questions, make sure to ask your organisation.

Maybe most importantly, find out which services your program offers:

  • Do you need to arrange your visa?
  • Do you need to organise your own flight?
  • Do you need to organise transport to the project location within the country?
  • Do you need to arrange your own accommodation or will you be sleeping in a provided hostel, host stay, etc?

childrenGet In The Right Mindset

Be prepared that if it’s your first time traveling to your country of choice, you will most likely have a culture shock. In addition, your contribution to the project will most likely not have immediately visible effects. Change takes time – often years, so there is a great chance that the problems you encounter will still be there when you leave. This doesn’t mean that your help is useless, but that all you can do is assist the project in its long-term vision.

The best way to approach this is to mentally prepare yourself. Say goodbye to Western standards of living and remove your rose-tinted glasses.

You might be placed without running water, so pack items to cope with this. Hand sanitisers, baby wipes or tissues will always come in handy. Also, inform your family and friends that you will most likely not be available online, as most places won’t provide internet, some won’t even have electricity. Go old school and pack things such as books, playing cards and a flashlight.

Last but not least – don’t underestimate the importance of a smile or other acts of kindness. They can have a bigger impact than you might realise.

Be sure you are sufficiently covered

These are some important questions to ask yourself before leaving abroad:

  • Medication – Do you need any vaccinations or Malaria tablets? Is it wise to bring some basic medication when you travel? If so, which ones?

Even if you feel like you have sufficient knowledge on this topic, be sure and visit a travel doctor to ask him the aforementioned questions. You are volunteering abroad, so the chances are you will be staying in a 2nd or 3rd world country. This means that your chances of contracting an illness unknown to your home country increases while your healthcare options decrease. Further, some countries even require you to provide proof that you have received certain vaccinations.

Don’t let this stop you from going abroad, just make sure you take healthy precautions.

  • Emergency numbers – Do you know what numbers you need to call should anything happen?

This requires two absolutely essential steps. First of all, get in touch with your project and make sure they inform you sufficiently about their safety steps. How far is the next hospital away, how have they handled incidents in the past etc. You are paying for their support, make sure to utilise it. Secondly, and probably the most important point on this list, GET TRAVEL INSURANCE.

Yes, it is expensive and yes, there is a chance you might not need it, but do you really want to take that risk? Take it from a fellow traveler, when you are somewhere in Asia and you hurt yourself, you want to be safe rather than sorry, not to mention the rather high potential for food poisoning, diarrhoea and other unfortunate travel companions you might encounter. And aside from being sick, travel insurance will also cover you for other things that can go wrong, such as flight cancellation and stolen luggage.

Voluntourism – How to Find an Ethical Project?

“Voluntourism” is a portmanteau of “volunteer” and “tourism”, describing tourists that combine a trip abroad with volunteer work. The idea is often met with scepticism and has caused a lot of controversy. One reason for this is that researchers have found that some of the companies involved with voluntourism are misrepresenting their products, i.e. trying to make a profit out of volunteers that come to help. But with hundreds of opportunities offered by agencies, charities and grassroot projects, how does a potential volunteer know which organisations are ethically a good choice and which ones are unhelpful to the very communities they claim to help?

During my bachelor’s education, I considered volunteering abroad. However, I was overwhelmed and shocked by how difficult it seemed to find information on projects. Much of the international volunteer industry seemed ethically ambiguous to say the least. Most projects I found charged thousands of dollars which in the end discouraged me from joining any program at all. Nevertheless, there are many ethical options out there for everyone interested in volunteering, however finding them is tougher than it should be. It is the very nature of this dilemma that motivated me to join Team Social Work, a social enterprise dedicated to making the voluntourism market more transparent

Step One: Be realistic

Make sure you have realistic expectations about what to expect to experience on your trip and what you can accomplish

  • You came to help, keep that in mind throughout your stay. This does not just mean that first you have to think about the beneficiaries of your stay first and put the community needs ahead of yours, but also remember that your efforts are ultimately for the community you’re serving, despite the pivotal role you can play. Your ultimate goal should be to to assist them with their vision, whichEducationh ever part you may play in it.
  • Remember that change takes time. If you’re only going to be there for a short period, then the chances are that you won’t be there long enough to witness the impact your efforts will have on the community that you have elected to h
    elp. Nevertheless, consider the bigger picture to appreciate that your contribution has made a significant contribution and indeed a difference.
  • Last but not least – don’t underestimate the importance of a smile or other acts of kindness. They can have a bigger impact than you might realise.

Step Two: Choose a Good-Fit Type of Volunteering

A lot of volunteers have only a few weeks of their time to donate to a project and are worried that they can’t make a difference in such a short period. So how can you make short-term voluntourism worthwhile?

Short-term voluntourism isn’t necessarily bad. It really depends on the project that you want to volunteer for. As a general rule of thumb, you should always ask yourself whether or not your position at the project is effected by a personal relationship. E.g. within a conservation project, your duration of stay will have limited impact on the animals or biodiversity; often these projects need an extra hand, so it won’t make so much difference if you are only there for a short period. If you want to volunteer with a project that involves community development or working with children, carefully evaluate whether your short term stay will be useful to them or if you will do more harm than good. You might help to build a school in a few weeks, but you won’t become a counsellor for traumatised children. In any case, be sure that you are matched according to your skills.

Step Three: Ask the Right Questions

To ensure that you are joining an ethically sound volunteering project, the organisation should be able to provide you with answers to your questions. But what are the right questions to ask?

Before getting in touch with someone at the organisation, think about the following:

  • Many projects will provide you with a great vision of what they are trying to achieve, but only genuine projects will be able to provide you with details of how to get there. Ask whether or not there has been a needs assessment establishing exactly what help is required. Only projects that plan ahead will be able to make a lasting difference, so be sure to enquire about specific goals and why these are of importance in advance.
  • Take careful consideration over how the communities and projects are talked about by their relevant organisations. If they are degrading the locals they claim to be helping and belting their situation, then this should be sending you warning signs – taking advantage of their poverty to market the volunteering project in question is not respectful in the slightest.
  • Furthermore, every project should break down where the money you pay will go, and how the money from past volunteers has made a difference to the community they are working in. If they don’t, I recommend reconsidering your choice.

Get in touch with someone who has volunteered there beforehand: 

  • We live in the age of social media, so make sure you use it to your advantage. Sincere organisations should provide links to their social media sites. Use them to get in touch with former volunteers of the projects and ask them for their personal experience.
  • Make sure to ask what the exact nature of their volunteer work was, and what level of volunteer support they experienced. If the program description doesn’t match what former volunteers describe, you should be cautious and ask the project why this was the case.

Have you been on a volunteer holiday? Share your views and experiences in the comments below.

8 Reasons Social Work Students Should Volunteer More Often

I have mentioned in previous articles that volunteering is important especially for students. Volunteering is usually thought of as an act of kindness benefiting the community, and it makes you feel good about yourself. Although this is true, volunteering can also provide opportunities which may far exceed your original expectations of simply giving away free time. It surprises me when social work students do not want to volunteer or decline opportunities given to them.

The social work mission is focused on ameliorating the community, and social workers should be at the forefront of improving as much as we can. Students especially should volunteering because the competitive job market, as well as the many doors that can be opened. Here are some of the benefits volunteering gives students:

  1. VolunteerExpands your network. I cannot stress enough to fellow social work students that your network is vital to your success. Being community leaders, the more people we build relationships, the stronger the impact we can have. Volunteering connects you with other volunteers, agency staff, and other community members.
  2. Career exploration. Many students do not have a sense of what they want to do when they enter a social work program. They sometimes struggle with their career goals, especially when they are placed at internship sites they do not enjoy. If every once in a while they get the opportunity to volunteer doing a new job, they can personally explore for themselves the career path they wish to take.
  3. Develop or learn new skills. Social work is a diverse field and requires us to have many different talents, but sometimes our internships and jobs only focus on a few of those areas. Volunteering allows you to test new skills that you may have not be using in your internship. Clinical interns can be learning how to fundraise, build networks, lobby, communications skills and other macro skills. On the other side, macro students can be working directly with individuals or providing counseling they may not be doing in their day-to-day responsibilities.
  4. Start building rapport with your new staff. Currently in my program, the first year students end their first year placements around May, and then begin their new ones at the end of August. We have a whole summer in between these where we have no required internship commitments. This is a great time to maybe volunteer or get involved with the agency you plan to be working. I just spent hours volunteering for special events organized by my next year’s placement, and I definitely plan to volunteer more before the end of the year. I made the time to get to know my staff before I start my internship which will make the beginning easier.
  5. Free Food/Giveaways. Do I need to elaborate? Financially strained college students not wanting free food and sometimes free giveaways, now that’s a problem.
  6. Personal Time. We all need personal time and we all need to relax. Social workers have a greater risk of burning out because of the exhausting work they do. Volunteering can be a great way to relax, feel like you are still contributing to the community and escape the hardships of their jobs or academics.
  7. It’s fun! I have the best time volunteering and I know many others do. Get some friends together and go have a good time!
  8. Feeling of Enjoyment. We all know that volunteering gives individuals a sense of enjoyment and accomplishment. We know it feels good and it is important. Volunteering feels even better if I know that I am assisting the staff with their jobs, making an impact on the community, as well as developing my professional skills. It’s a win-win-win!

Volunteering may not be easy with the amount of commitments social work students have, but if we remember that volunteering now only helps the agency and community, but helps yourself at the same time. With the amount of benefits that come from volunteering, I highly recommend students to do help out as much as they can handle.

Could Virtual Volunteering Be Right for You

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Wish you could volunteer or donate time to a worthy cause, but your schedule just don’t have the extra time?  Maybe, there is an alternative that may be right for you. Virtual volunteering is basically doing volunteer work using the Internet. This could be a better alternative for those who want to be more active in doing non-traditional volunteer work.

There are a lot of organizations that you can find through the Internet that accept virtual volunteers. United Nations, Do Something, or Womenoncall are some of these organizations. Just look up their websites and you can match your skills to the jobs that they need. You could incorporate such programs into your employees’ work schedules and make some time to monitor them.

Kinds of virtual volunteer works

Tasks a volunteer may choose from may vary from as simple as data entry or online research to technical jobs like designing databases or web pages. What is important is that you could volunteer for services that you are particularly skilled at. Volunteer work that involves more specific tasks like counseling or giving legal, medical or business advice are better handled by professional people who are experts in those fields.

Here are some examples of tasks that a volunteer may engage in:

  • Virtual learning opportunities like e-tutoring students in various subjects, teaching foreigners in basic English as well as helping people learn different skills that may give them job opportunities like web design, photo editing, data entry and other related online tasks.
  • Administrative work like online research, data entry, translating documents, scanning documents and answering clients’ inquiries on behalf of the organization.
  • Technical jobs like creating podcasts, graphic design or editing videos.
  • Facilitate communication and networking through editing or writing proposals, newsletter articles and press releases about the organization.

There are some advantages of virtual volunteering like the following:

  • Virtual volunteering overcomes geographic boundaries and time constraints. You can give service to people from other countries most especially those who are lacking in resources. Since no travel is involved, you can spend more time teaching basic subjects to students on a one on one basis, allowing for more flexibility and convenience.
  • Virtual volunteering provides an efficient and cost effective way to perform community service. Since you have the technical resources in place like the computer with Internet connection and VoIP service, all one needs are the resource materials to complete your tasks when necessary.
  • It is environment friendly. Being able to work offsite helps the company promote eco friendly practices like less paper wasted or no car fumes emitted.
  • Online volunteers may have more sophisticated computer equipment and also programming skills that the organization may benefit from. This way, the organization saves more money, as they would use the volunteer’s resources in their behalf.
  • Assisting with programs dealing with helping out children, troubled individuals, and people needing counseling or tutoring may empower the volunteers into realizing that they make an impact on the people they help.
  • Volunteers could collaborate with each other using the Internet. Volunteer managers can use online discussion groups to be more knowledgeable about the program and get tips or offer advice to others.
  • Volunteers may be inspired to take a step further and continue on accepting volunteer work on their own and turn  into great advocates for the organization.

Benefits of virtual volunteering

Virtual volunteering can benefit both you and your organization as well as providing services to the organization, school, or government program where volunteer work is rendered. Even, companies who join in this endeavor now have the tools to sharpen their employee volunteer programs, and by design, are able to polish their corporate philanthropy reputation.

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